Friday, January 9, 2009

This Just In : Jim Critzer to step away from his Generals


WAYNESBORO - Now that I have read it in both Augusta County daily newspapers (The News Virginian & The News Leader), I guess it must be true. Mr. Jim Critzer is stepping down from his role as sole owner of the Valley Baseball League after a 10 year run that saw the Generals capture three straight Southern Division Championships & 1 VBL crown (2007).
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Critzer was as familiar of a face to a franchise as any of the 12 current teams in the league. Some of the things that made Critzer stand out was his ability to do things his way and his way only. The game of baseball was just that to Critzer, a game, a game that included a bat, a ball and a glove.
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Any money that owning the Generals might have generated over the past decade Critzer simply put back in to the facilities at Kate Collins Middle School. KC serves as a home to both the Generals and Critzer's other love, the Waynesboro Little Giants. My first opportunity to visit with Critzer came after his Generals defeated Luray in the VBL finals back in 2007. I had been calling the game for the web cast as well as writing a story for the Page News & Courier.
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I went to interview Critzer for the first time and he had a look in his eye as he clinched the trophy his team had just one. The talk was about how his older brother had played for the Generals years ago and about how much it meant to him to have the chance to own his home town team.
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The two of us spent the summer of 2008 getting to know more about each other. Critzer would be the first to admit he was trying to figure out what was the angle behind my attempt to promote the VBL through Around The Valley in 60 Days. My time was spent trying to grasp the one of a kind feel that was in the air at Kate Collins for every home game.
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It was about half way through the season that Critzer finally conceded that maybe I wasn't trying to sell time share membership but that I simply wanted to just try and make a difference for the league. About the same time I figured out Jim's secret- he simply built a support staff that loved his ball club as much as he does.
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Two weeks from tonight Jim Critzer will attend what should be his final VBL Owners meeting. There should be a celebration held in honor of the man and his efforts over the past decade. Not sure if Jim will get a Gold Watch or not but this I do know- he will get a tip of the cap from me for creating a magical baseball place where a game is still just a game.
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For Critzer to remove himself from a ball club that meant so much to him, he would have to find someone that shared his vision of the game. Critzer will tell you that he has done just that and it is the reason he can step away from his club knowing the foundation he built will stay in place.
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I only wish that I had the same faith/confidence in his choices for the people to take Waynesboro forward in the manner he wants it go. But then again, I/we owe it to him to try our best to make this happen. He already showed me the blue print - just surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and don't get in their way!
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Speaking on behalf of the VBL and the fans of the Waynesboro Generals - Thanks Jim for a job well done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some history of the Waynesboro Generals and ask Critzer and some other fans that have been there for a long time, there was a player Craig Hendricks I do believe that played catcher in the late 80's early 90's and was one of the best players for the team there. He did pass away sometime in the 90's with an illness I'm not sure of, plus I do think they had an award for him.

GeneralsSignGuyMike